Mumbai metro to nowhere



With each passing day, Mumbai seems to be becoming an example of how not to do things. Credit for this goes chiefly to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, an agency that was set up to plan the city’s growth.

There is the white elephant called the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which now gets only a fraction of the projected volume of traffic. Work on the second phase, from Worli to Haji Ali, is yet to begin two years after the first link was commissioned. The incomplete skywalks at various places in the city are another constant reminder of the MMRDA’s planning prowess. And then there is the metro, which for the average Mumbaikar exists only in the papers.

While the first line, from Versova to Ghatkopar via Andheri, crawls towards completion, work on the second, from Charkop to Mankhurd via Bandra, has been pushed further back, to after next year’s BMC elections, though the foundation stone was laid more than two years ago.

The metro master plan, which has as many as nine lines, is more than five years old, but not a kilometre’s stretch is ready. Clearly, there was no planning. The way the first phase has meandered is indication enough. Though it was always clear that the metro would have to cross the Western Railway line at Andheri, the permissions were not acquired until very late. Nor was a clear plan put in place on how to build this 183m bridge.

The second line will have three such bridges over railway tracks. Have lessons been learnt? Have final designs been prepared and approved? Has an alternative been worked out to placate residents who are opposing the elevated line and are likely to move the courts? Or will this phase drag on for 10 years? More info